Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Common Sense Rule #4

Multitasking is a lie we make up to let people THINK we are actually accomplishing more than we are

Professors from MIT and a recent NPR study report that people don't “multitask” as well as they think they do.  No matter what I used to believe, I find that often in myself, and in others.

Sometimes I will THINK I’m doing this great job getting all these things done at the same time when, in truth, nothing was really done at the “same” time, just all in one day and usually in multiple little clumps of time because who can really browse Facebook, study, and text your friend about what you have going on tomorrow all at the same time?

Try as I might, I really can’t.  No one can.  Your brain can do millions of things but the only thing you can truly multitask is body functions…your heart and lungs are always working while you are doing other things. 

Your brain simply cannot give the same amount of attention to three different conversations at the same time.  You may be IN three conversations, but your brain isn’t. 

Have you ever been talking to one person, texting another, and looking at Facebook when you hear the person you are talking to say something and all of a sudden something catch a snippet that proves you should have been paying more attention? Obviously you weren’t IN the conversation like you should have been.

Or what about at work? You have three jobs sitting on your desk (I actually do right now: blog, August paperwork, a deposit that needs to be made). While you are busy moving between each of them, doing little bits here and there on each, you miss something big. A number gets transposed or forgotten. An email gets a reply all instead of a private reply. Any number of mistakes can happen.

We need to give ourselves permission to realize that, in order to do every job correctly and give it 100%, we need to put away our distractions. Don't answer that email the minute it pops up. Mute your Facebook notifications. Only have one job on your desk so you don't get distracted by another. It really is OK.

And I promise you. You will find that you have a far more productive and meaningful day without multitasking.